Steve takes a detour into Krypton mythology to review Claudia Gray’s The Shadow Threat Superman adventure
In The Shadow Threat, Claudia Gray, best known (at least by me) as the author of several Star Wars books, takes on the history of Superman’s birthplace. In this prequel to the legend of Superman, Gray begins the story of the last days of Krypton. This was the first part of the House of El trilogy. It was released in January 2021 by DC Comics. The artwork was done, very well I might add, by Eric Zawadski.
House of El: Book One – The Shadow Threat | Claudia Gray
First off, I enjoyed this story. It felt like a Claudia Gray story to me. I am a fan of Superman. I am also a fan of history. The idea of a story based on the history of Krypton is very appealing to me so when I first heard about this graphic novel, I was excited to read it. I have not watched any of the SyFy Krypton series so I’m not sure how much, if any, this book is attached to that iteration of the history of Krypton. I will say, however, that I can see a slight connection to the 2013 Man of Steel film.
Gray weaves politics into her stories very well and this one is no exception. My favorite parts of the story were the description of the caste system, the underground movement that is trying to save the planet from the indifference and ineptitude of its leaders, and I enjoyed the introduction of Jor-El and his wife Lana. And the part they play in attempting to prevent the imminent destruction of Krypton.
That being said, I have to say that I think this story is meant for a very focused audience. Whether that was done unintentionally or not, the story feels like it is meant for specific fans. I do not think that a person that is not interested in Superman, or the history of Krypton, would find interest in The Shadow Threat.
A friend of mine informed me that this is part of an ongoing Young Readers line. One released by DC Comics that serves as an entry point outside of canon. So perhaps this is a book that could be an introduction to Superman mythology. Designed for those that are unfamiliar with his origins. Still, I think that those who are not fans of Superman are not going to make a specific effort to go out and read this.
The only other exception that I can think of would-be fans of the author herself. Claudia Gray is an amazing writer and I can certainly see somebody going out and reading this because of her involvement.
Overall, it is a great story with interesting characters and an attention-grabbing plot. And although you might already know how the story ultimately ends, The Shadow Threat will make you want to come back to read the rest. And learn how Krypton eventually came to an end.
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